Usually when someone dies, we find ourselves in a reflective mood. We laud their achievements and mourn their loss with a certain intensity which slowly fades away as other things happen. Life goes on. Those who have died have gone; we, who are alive are left to keep running the race. And as such, we return to the normalcy of our lives – bickering, name calling, the endless hustle continues. How often do we come back to that moment of reflection and actively making a conscious effort to make our time here count?
Yesterday, I watched a biopic on the life of Stephen Hawking. (Please check him out on the internet if you don’t know who he is). The first time I heard about Stephen Hawking was when he appeared on an episode of Big Bang Theory. He is some super duper quantum physicist of whom Sheldon was in awe. After that episode, I went online and read up on him. Here was a genius who was living in a body that had slowly depreciated as a result of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He was diagnosed in his 20s and he is now 72. Which means he has lived with this condition for most of his life. He described it as living with the shadow of death hovering over him every day for the past 50 years. However, it didn’t stop him from taking giant strides in life.
Stephen Hawking’s work has been ground breaking in the world of science. Now, the part that completely floored me was this. Hawking had just signed a deal for his book “A Brief History of Time” when he fell ill. He had a serious case of pneumonia and as a result of this, he lost what was left of his ability to speak. He was gutted that he wouldn’t be able to finish his book. This was the book where he planned to break down quantum physics and the cosmology of the earth to the lay man; and here he was unable to communicate. Luckily, some tech geniuses at Silicon Valley developed some software to recognize his facial muscles and help translate it into words.
A Brief History of Time has sold over 8 million copies worldwide since it first went into print.
The story of Stephen Hawking left me with a very powerful message. At a time when the world is celebrating the successes of Madiba and the life he lived, I’m sitting here at my desk thinking. Two great men. Two different sides of the globe. Two different life stories. One powerful message.
“Ordinary Person. Extraordinary Life”
Hawking is not dead but his life’s work has had a lot of impact on me. His attitude to life and his mindset with regards living with the cards he was dealt. The more his body failed him, the more acute his mind became. What he lacked in physical capacity, he made up for with a resolution of mind.
If we can all think that we are ordinary people, with a goal of living extraordinary lives, the world will be such an amazing place for our children. In that which you think is mundane, if you strive for excellence at all times, you’d be a shining light – a beacon of hope.
You don’t have to have all the money in the world, or have two functioning legs. Heck, you might even be living with a terminal disease. Remember, at all times… Ordinary Person. Extraordinary Life.
Have a fabulous week ahead. Don’t forget to smile and make someone smile too. It’s in the little things that we find joy. It’s how we pay it forward.
Peace, love & cupcakes.
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